In response to the first Innovation Fund call for small-scale projects with capital expenditure between EUR 2.5 and EUR 7.5 million, the European Commission received 232 applications for innovative clean tech projects in renewable energy, energy-intensive industries, energy storage, and carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS).

The number of applications per sector(1) is:

  • about 125 for energy-intensive industries, including CCUS, out of which around a third in hydrogen and around a sixth in bio-refineries
  • about 60 for renewable electricity and heat, out of which almost half in solar energy
  • about 50 for energy storage

Applications come from projects to be implemented in all Member States, Iceland and Norway and the proposed projects have requested a total of more than EUR 1 billion, 10 times more the available budget.

Compared to the applications to the first large-scale call, this call attracted fewer applications from energy-intensive industries and carbon capture, use and storage, but more applications from the renewables and energy storage sector.

The funding of projects under this call will help boost to the EU’s green recovery, deliver on the EU climate goals under the European Green Deal and reinforce European technological leadership on a global scale.

Mauro Petriccione, Director-General for DG Climate Action, said: ‘After the great interest in the Innovation Fund large-scale call, we are continuing on the same path with the call for small-scale projects. The applications show the potential for clean tech innovation from all sectors where companies of all sizes, from start-ups to global corporations, are looking to deploy low-carbon innovative solutions across Europe. This confirms the impressive interest of businesses in investing in the green recovery and shows that the transition to climate neutrality is very high on the boardroom agendas, whether in large established firms or in smaller specialised companies and start-ups’.

The emphasis of the call was on innovative yet mature technologies deployed at smaller scale. It focused on truly innovative projects that are ready for commercial deployment, for instance delivering installations to a customer in a new market segment, as well as products that substitute carbon-intensive ones, net carbon removal innovations and direct air capture.

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